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Wallaceville shutdown dangerous says Forum

Hon Marian Hobbs
Greater Wellington Forum

25 July 2003 Media Statement

Wallaceville shutdown dangerous says Forum

The Greater Wellington Forum has welcomed progress on roading in the Wellington region and improved co-ordination in matching workers to skill gaps but expressed unanimous concern at the proposed shutdown of Agresearch's Wallaceville research centre, the chair, Wellington Central MP, Marian Hobbs, said today.

Speaking after regional members of parliament and local government representatives met, Marian Hobbs said the forum saw danger in moving the Wallaceville research operation to Palmerston North.

"It's been estimated that 30 to 40 per cent of the staff won't make the shift," Marian Hobbs said. "Some would prefer Australia to a shift up State Highway One. New Zealand, let alone Wellington, cannot afford that loss of skills, particularly from the biotechnology sector.

"Wallaceville has played a strong networking role with firms in the region as the commercialisation of research developed. Closing the centre will make it harder to grow the biotechnology sector in the Greater Wellington region.

"Linking with university research is important, but so is the link to the commercial sector. These links are threatened.

"A shift away is not a win-win solution. In fact, the reality, as distinct from the theory, may well result in the loss of scientists and commercial connections.

"The Greater Wellington Forum asks Agresearch to consider carefully the effect on the biotechnology sector."


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